Mystery Village
1 Chapter 1
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Mystery Village
Author :Shey_Saints
© Webnovel

1 Chapter 1

Santiago took a glimpse of the river on his right side, driving his silver Ford Crown Victoria. The river was under the long bridge he was passing through. As he sang along with Mr. Big's Just Take My Heart, he went by the University of Saint Thomas, then finally saw the gasoline station which served as a sign that he was nearing his destination. He was to stop at the second intersection ahead of it - a street corner for an alley of what seemed to be a small forest or woodlot. And by the looks of the narrow passageway, walking was the best option. He put his gearbox in neutral, turned the key, then removed it from the ignition.

Santiago stepped out of his car, looking pensive in his grey khaki pants, white long sleeve polo, and his formal black oxford shoes. It was January 17, 1992, casual Friday, but he needed to look like the Department Head of Embarcadero. It wasn't the best architectural firm, but he wanted to make it seem like it was. There was a big project at stake, and he would move heaven and earth to close that deal with his prospective client. To do that, he needed to speak to the owner of the vast land that he started to step his foot into. He was to convince the owner to sell it, so it could be turned into the first mall of Ipzagel, the capital of Yabla province.

As he walked, there was a big sign on a post ahead, but it was unreadable. All he could see was "illage," which was obviously not a word. He walked further and saw two buildings: one was an office building and standing next to it was a three-story apartment building with a maroon gate. He looked like a brontosaurus as he tried to extend his neck to look over the gate. He was six feet and one inch tall, but it wasn't much of a help.

After a few seconds, the silence was deafening: no birds were chirping, no frogs were croaking, and there was no noise coming from any living presence, except for him. There should've been at least the whooshing sound as the wind passed through many branches and leaves surrounding the area, but there was none. On his left side were pure meadows and, on his back, there were lots and lots of trees.

"Hello? Is there anyone here?" He felt strange, but he managed to let out his voice, loud enough for someone from the apartment building to hear. He would hurt his hand if he knocked at the metallic gate, so he took out a coin from his right pocket and started clinking.

After two minutes of constant "Hello," where he almost slammed the gate out of frustration, all he could do was sigh. "Damn it! There is not a hint of even one living creature in here!" He mumbled to himself as quiet as he could. There was a possibility that the owner just didn't want to welcome anyone. The owner was probably just discreetly watching him from the windows, he thought. So, he tried with all his might not to look as pissed as he was. He then used his long arms to slide between the wrought iron railheads of the gate in hope of a way to open it. To his surprise, someone suddenly tapped his shoulder. "Holy shit!" He screamed in shock as he turned to see an old woman who came out of nowhere.

"Hello, Mr. Handsome gentleman," she said in a sweet grandmotherly voice. She had chubby rosy cheeks and was almost half his height. From her wrinkled skin with freckles, she was in her late 70s, though she didn't look frail by the way that she stood in front of him with her hands on her waist. "I'm sorry to surprise you, dear."

Santiago's fright was replaced with gratitude to see a living presence in front of him. At the back of his mind, he was thinking that maybe she was the owner. "It's okay. Sorry, I must've over reacted."

"No, of course not. It was a normal reaction." She said with a nod, as if to confirm. "I've been looking at you from afar. I'm the caretaker of the abandoned building over there. It used to be an office space, but it hasn't been used for many years." Her voice sounded hoarse, but she seemed like a person who loved to talk to people.

"Are you the owner of this building?" He asked, embarrassed that he tried to break in.

"Oh no, no. Not at all." She responded.

He was relieved but at the same time, his hope of finally meeting the owner was crushed. "I was trying to open the gate because nobody responded when I knocked."

"Just kick it. It's open, just stuck. But the problem is, even if you open it, you won't be able to get in," she said with more emphasis on the last comment, shaking her head.

Santiago looked confused. "What do you mean?"

"Go ahead. Try it. Just kick it."

He did as he was told, then voila, the gate opened! He smiled, but his happiness was short-lived. As soon as he stepped to enter the premises, it was as if he was blocked by an invisible shield. He tried again with all his might, even pushing his arms to see if it will go through but to his surprise, it was no use. He was mystified by it.

He looked at the old woman who was expressionless; it wasn't the first time that someone had tried to enter that place, so she just stood there observing him. "Who's the owner? Is she inside?" He asked.

"It's a he, and there are seven of them."


"Yes. Seven."

"And none of them wanna talk?"

"Well, even if they want to talk to you, they won't be able to."

Again, Santiago's face was full of confusion. "And why would that be?"

"I can't say."

His eyebrows merged. "But do you know them?"


"And you've seen them?"

"Yes, of course."

"How will I be able to see them so I can talk to them?"

"You can't."

He sighed and this time, it was obvious that he was frustrated. "But I don't understand why. Can you help me, please? They don't have contact information and this place is not even in the yellow pages. I was just given instructions on how to get here, but I don't even know what this place is called. I saw a sign back there," he pointed at the direction where he came from, "it says illage and…"

The old woman interrupted. "Village."

"I'm sorry what?"

"It's village. This place is called Mystery Village." She answered.

"Oh wow. Well, that certainly makes a lot of sense. Can you help me meet the owners?"

"I told you, you can't. Only someone who has the purest heart, perhaps a virgin, will be able to pass through during the full moon. Or, if not an innocent being, a lost soul."

Santiago laughed and had a hard time stopping himself that he had to move to a wall and rest on his side. He pressed his head to the wall as he pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the little tears in his eyes from laughing too hard. "You're kidding me, right?" He sounded breathless. "This is the weirdest conversation I've had in my entire life. And possibly, the most inconceivable experience." He consumed the last laugh he had left while he uttered, "So tell me." He rubbed his eyes with his handkerchief again. "What's the name of…" He was suddenly surprised to see no one, but still managed to finish his question as he whispered, "…the owner?" He surveyed around to see where the old woman went, only to realize that she was really gone.

He stood there, contemplating everything that happened, then recalled the old woman's words in his head. Only someone who has the purest heart, perhaps a virgin, will be able to pass through during the full moon. Or, if not an innocent being, a lost soul. "A lost soul?" His eyes widened in fear. "Holy shit!" He swiftly walked as if in a marathon race, then never looked back. He could see the hood of his car on the roadway, not so far from where he was panicking. He ran for it and by the time he reached his car, he was panting. He stepped inside, buckled up, and turned the key to start the engine, but then an image in the mirror suddenly made him scream like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, complete with the hand gesture. He only stopped after realizing that he was looking at a life-sized cardboard of their 50-year-old woman Chief Executive Officer. "Son of a…" He threw a box of tissue straight to the cardboard's head out of exasperation. Then, he quickly inhaled and exhaled. After calming himself down, he turned the music on; Mr. Big's To Be with You, one of his favorites, accompanied his journey away from Mystery Village.

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